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Sandor "Alex" Kvassay papers and collection of Aviation Stamps

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 144

Scope and Contents

The Sandor "Alex" Kvassay papers and collection of Aviation Stamps document the history of aviation and flight through postage stamps, postmarks and envelopes collected from all over the world. The collection spans the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century but includes examples of 19th century balloon airmail.

The stamps are housed in 67 albums and total near 68,000 stamps, envelopes, postmarks and postcards. The collection was assembled over a period of 20 years, with many of the stamps purchased as new issues. The stamps in the collection are all related to aviation; airplanes, history of flight and significant anniversaries, airships, Zeppelin mail, famous aviators and events in world history. Many of the stamps do not have dates.

There are many thousands of mostly unused stamps and souvenir sheets. In addition to the United States, there are 20th century stamps and covers from Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Italy and Colonies, Spain and Colonies, France and Colonies, Netherlands and Colonies, and Portugal and Colonies. In addition there are thousands of stamps from Africa, South and Central America, Latin America, Asia including China, Japan and Korea. Finally there are thousands of stamps from Great Britain and former British Colonies, including Australia, Canada and Provinces, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cyprus and many others. Other countries of the world are also well represented in the collection.

Along with the stamp collection, there is a copy of Kvassay's autobiography, "Alex in Wonderland: A life of high adventure from war-torn Europe to the world of aviation." The book focuses on three aspects of his life; his Hungarian background and coming to the United States, 30 years selling American-manufactured business aircraft to overseas markets and lastly, his journeys during retirement. Other writings included are his featured stories, "Alex Remembers" published in Professional Pilot.

Lastly, the papers contain a binder of clippings about Kvassay's longtime friend, Neil Armstrong and correspondence exchanged between them via email in the early 2000s. The binder is restricted, due to third party privacy concerns.


  • 1870 - 2014
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1920 - 1990


Language of Materials

Collection material is primarily in English. Chinese, French, German, Korean, Mongolian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, among many others are also present.

Access Information

The collection is open for research. The collection is stored offsite; 24 hours notice is required to access the collection.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Sandor "Alex" Kvassay came to the United States from Hungary in 1948, where he had finished studying law. He became a United States citizen through two years of service in the Army. He then went to Wichita for a job at Beech Aircraft before Lear Jet Corporation recruited him as vice president of international marketing. Alex Kvassay sold Beech and Learjet aircraft for 30 years, earning a reputation as the industry's premier international salesman of his day. Kvassay sold planes for Olive Ann Beech and Bill Lear to world leaders, business moguls and celebrities. He later became a partner with Duncan Aviation.

During his 30 years of selling corporate aircraft around the world, Alex Kvassay crossed the Atlantic Ocean nearly 500 times and the Pacific more than 80 times.

He retired in 1982 and continued to travel the world, including landing on the North and South poles. In early 2010, Murray Smith, owner/publisher/editor of Professional Pilot magazine, an old friend of Alex Kvassay asked Alex to write down his memories of more than 30 years of selling business aircraft internationally, so his collection of reflections could be enjoyed by Pro Pilot readers and his history of marketing private aircraft outside the United States could be preserved.

Since May 2010 he has authored more than 35 individual stories, which have run monthly in Professional Pilot, under the title of "Alex Remembers." Some of those stories appear in this collection. Kvassay had a 40 year friendship with Neil Armstrong. E-mails they had exchanged in the 2000s and clippings Kvassay had collected in regards to Armstrong's life are also found in this collection.

Sources: Material in the papers, along with:


12.40 Cubic Feet (Twelve cubic feet boxes and one letter-size full-width manuscript box)


The papers and stamp collection are organized into two series. Original order of the stamps has been retained, and the stamps remain in the original binders.
  1. Aviation Stamps
  2. Writings, Neil Armstrong Clippings & Correspondence, and Miscellaneous Items

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Sandor “Alex” Kvassay, July 22, 2014.

Processing Information

The stamps remain in the original binders. Materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. Polyester sleeves were used where warranted.



Sandor "Alex" Kvassay papers and collection of Aviation Stamps
Under Review
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2015-04-20.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-17: Collection description updated to new standards by Mary A. Sego.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States